Title: Time and Eternity
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher (Developer): NIS America (Imageepoch)
ESRB Rating: “Teen” for Blood, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Partial Nudity and Suggestive Themes
I like NIS America. I think they’re a fantastic company that takes chances on games that normally wouldn’t get released outside of Japan, and I think they’re one of the few publishers that really listens to fan requests when it comes to considering which games to pick up. That said, even the best publishers make mistakes, and Time and Eternity is a big one. I know I said I was excited about this game and that I had high hopes for it, but I was wrong. Time and Eternity is a waste of time, and every moment you spend playing it feels like an eternity.
A dual-souled princess travels through time to save a jerk who isn’t worth it.
Royals have a strange life in the kingdom of Kamza. Take princess Toki, for example. She not only possesses an unusual power handed down in the royal family line, which enables her to rewind time to return to the past, but also happens to suffer from a condition called dual souls. In short, two souls dubbed Toki and Towa share the same body. Long ago, the two came to a decision that Toki would be the dominant one. Few know about her condition, as Kamza royals don’t make their public debuts until they are married.
Coincidentally, Time and Eternity begins just as Toki about to get married to a lecherous jerk of a knight named Zack. Zack proves his ignorance and unlikeablility moments after he is introduced, with his eying up of Toki’s single friends and uncouth behavior. The two are about to get married the next day, though Toki is worried about a fortune teller’s prophesy saying someone will die at the wedding.
It’s a prediction that comes true. Shortly after Toki and Zack exchange vows, at which point players can prove Zack’s worthlessness by even having him say no, assassins storm the wedding. Zack steps in front of Toki, one of his sole redeeming acts and is killed. Though, as he lays dying, he sort-of undoes that goodwill by saying his final actions were so cool and would make him a chick magnet. It’s then that Toki swaps personalities to Towa and takes out every assassin. Toki and Towa determine that if they backtrack six months, they can prevent the assassination and save Zack. The two rewind time and inadvertantly bring Zack’s spirit back with them – in the body of their pet dragon – and go on to try and save his life by changing the past.
Tedious battles and grating discussions make Time and Eternity a chore.
Most of a players’ time in Time and Eternity is spent at round-tables discussions. I hate the round-tables. That’s when Zack, and Reijo, and Enda, and all of the other character I loathe give long winded, round about speeches that make me despise them even more. Even worse, said talks are mandatory. You have to experience every excrutiating moment to advance the story. The English voice acting isn’t all terrible. Some character’s voice acting, like Enda, are quite bad, but it’s passable overall. The overall story is interesting, but the actual dialogue is terrible. NIS America’s translation and localization staff is good, but they didn’t have much to work with when it comes to Time and Eternity and it’s clear they did their best to salvage it.
Then there’s the graphical design. I’m torn here. I like the mix between 2D, hand-drawn character art and 3D backgrounds in Time and Eternity. It looks really good. It would have looked even better if each character had more than a handful of poses. Each one only has a few looks. For example, I know Towa is hot-headed and tough, but she doesn’t always have to be quickly drawing a dagger, then flashily putting it away. Admittedly, some amusement can be derived from the lack of animations, as there were several times when Toki or Towa looked like they were having epileptic fits during roundtable discussions, quickly cycling through their two or three sitting poses.
I suppose the only part of Time and Eternity that was bearable was the dungeon crawling. It’s there that one can really see how neat the 2D and 3D graphics blend together. Though, I have to say that Towa and Toki walk in a really strange and awkward fashion. It doesn’t look comfortable or natural. As long as you can look past that, it’s an effective means of seeing how the contrast between the art-styles work together.
I wish I could say the same for Time and Eternity‘s battles. It isn’t that they don’t work. The active battle system does allow for some strategic movements between two lines of battle to chain together combos and take out opponents. The problem is, it gets very tedious. What starts out mildly entertaining quickly becomes a chore in the name of building either Toki or Towa’s affections and swapping their personalities so the one you want is dominant. Button-mashing can successfully get a player through most encounters, which is quite disappointing.
Your mileage may vary, but this is more like a Hummer than a Prius
I like the notion of Time and Eternity, but hate Imageepoch’s execution of said concepts. The story is interesting, what with the notion of dual souls and time travel, but the gameplay itself is a tedious slog. Some characters are engaging, like Toki and Towa, but others, like the rest of the cast, leave me groaning and make every obligatory roundtable a little slice of misery. There were many times when the game was either making me wish I could just hit the internet for spoilers at best, and wish there was an option to let Zack die at the wedding so Toki and Towa could go on to have awesome, other adventures with people worth their time.
I think there is an audience for Time and Eternity. People who will laud its character design and keep playing for the story, weathering other challenges like the battles and coffee clutches. Everyone else would be better off checkng Wikipedia in a two weeks for spoilers.
Site [Time and Eternity]